Bible: Ezra 2-8

2:1

The Names of the Returning Exiles

1 

These are the people 2  of the province who were going up, 3  from the captives of the exile whom King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had forced into exile in Babylon. They returned to Jerusalem 4  and Judah, each to his own city. 2:2 They came with Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Seraiah, Reelaiah, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispar, Bigvai, Rehum, and Baanah.

The number of Israelites 5  was as follows: 6 

2:3 the descendants 7  of Parosh: 2,172;

2:4 the descendants of Shephatiah: 372;

2:5 the descendants of Arah: 775;

2:6 the descendants of Pahath-Moab (from the line 8  of Jeshua and 9  Joab): 2,812;

2:7 the descendants of Elam: 1,254;

2:8 the descendants of Zattu: 945;

2:9 the descendants of Zaccai: 760;

2:10 the descendants of Bani: 642;

2:11 the descendants of Bebai: 623;

2:12 the descendants of Azgad: 1,222;

2:13 the descendants of Adonikam: 666;

2:14 the descendants of Bigvai: 2,056;

2:15 the descendants of Adin: 454;

2:16 the descendants of Ater (through 10  Hezekiah): 98;

2:17 the descendants of Bezai: 323;

2:18 the descendants of Jorah: 112;

2:19 the descendants of Hashum: 223;

2:20 the descendants of Gibbar: 95.

2:21 The men 11  of Bethlehem: 12  123;

2:22 the men of Netophah: 56;

2:23 the men of Anathoth: 128;

2:24 the men of the family 13  of Azmaveth: 42;

2:25 the men of Kiriath Jearim, 14  Kephirah and Beeroth: 743;

2:26 the men of Ramah and Geba: 621;

2:27 the men of Micmash: 122;

2:28 the men of Bethel 15  and Ai: 223;

2:29 the descendants of Nebo: 52;

2:30 the descendants of Magbish: 156;

2:31 the descendants of the other Elam: 1,254;

2:32 the descendants of Harim: 320;

2:33 the men of Lod, Hadid, and Ono: 725;

2:34 the men of Jericho: 16  345;

2:35 the descendants of Senaah: 3,630.

2:36 The priests: the descendants of Jedaiah (through the family 17  of Jeshua): 973;

2:37 the descendants of Immer: 1,052;

2:38 the descendants of Pashhur: 1,247;

2:39 the descendants of Harim: 1,017.

2:40 The Levites: the descendants of Jeshua and Kadmiel (through the line of Hodaviah): 74.

2:41 The singers: the descendants of Asaph: 128.

2:42 The gatekeepers: 18  the descendants of Shallum, the descendants of Ater, the descendants of Talmon, the descendants of Akkub, the descendants of Hatita, and the descendants of Shobai: 139.

2:43 The temple servants: the descendants of Ziha, the descendants of Hasupha, the descendants of Tabbaoth, 2:44 the descendants of Keros, the descendants of Siaha, the descendants of Padon, 2:45 the descendants of Lebanah, the descendants of Hagabah, the descendants of Akkub, 2:46 the descendants of Hagab, the descendants of Shalmai, 19  the descendants of Hanan, 2:47 the descendants of Giddel, the descendants of Gahar, the descendants of Reaiah, 2:48 the descendants of Rezin, the descendants of Nekoda, the descendants of Gazzam, 2:49 the descendants of Uzzah, the descendants of Paseah, the descendants of Besai, 2:50 the descendants of Asnah, the descendants of Meunim, the descendants of Nephussim, 2:51 the descendants of Bakbuk, the descendants of Hakupha, the descendants of Harhur, 2:52 the descendants of Bazluth, the descendants of Mehida, the descendants of Harsha, 2:53 the descendants of Barkos, the descendants of Sisera, the descendants of Temah, 2:54 the descendants of Neziah, and the descendants of Hatipha.

2:55 The descendants of the servants of Solomon: the descendants of Sotai, the descendants of Hassophereth, the descendants of Peruda, 2:56 the descendants of Jaala, the descendants of Darkon, the descendants of Giddel, 2:57 the descendants of Shephatiah, the descendants of Hattil, the descendants of Pokereth-Hazzebaim, and the descendants of Ami.

2:58 All the temple servants and the descendants of the servants of Solomon: 392.

2:59 These are the ones that came up from Tel Melah, Tel Harsha, Kerub, Addon, and Immer (although they were unable to certify 20  their family connection 21  or their ancestry, 22  as to whether they really were from Israel):

2:60 the descendants of Delaiah, the descendants of Tobiah, and the descendants of Nekoda: 652.

2:61 And from among 23  the priests: the descendants of Hobaiah, the descendants of Hakkoz, and the descendants of Barzillai (who had taken a wife from the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite and was called by that 24  name). 2:62 They 25  searched for their records in the genealogical materials, but did not find them. 26  They were therefore excluded 27  from the priesthood. 2:63 The governor 28  instructed them not to eat any of the sacred food until there was a priest who could consult 29  the Urim and Thummim.

2:64 The entire group numbered 42,360, 30  2:65 not counting 31  their male and female servants, who numbered 7,337. They also had 200 male and female singers 2:66 and 736 horses, 245 mules, 2:67 435 camels, and 6,720 donkeys. 2:68 When they came to the Lord’s temple in Jerusalem, some of the family leaders 32  offered voluntary offerings for the temple of God in order to rebuild 33  it on its site. 2:69 As they were able, 34  they gave to the treasury for this work 61,000 drachmas 35  of gold, 5,000 minas 36  of silver, and 100 priestly robes. 37 

2:70 The priests, the Levites, some of the people, the singers, the gatekeepers, and the temple servants lived in their towns, and all the rest of Israel lived in their towns.

The Altar is Rebuilt

3:1 When the seventh month arrived and the Israelites 38  were living 39  in their 40  towns, the people assembled 41  in 42  Jerusalem. 43  3:2 Then Jeshua the son of Jozadak 44  and his priestly colleagues 45  and Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and his colleagues 46  started to build 47  the altar of the God of Israel so they could offer burnt offerings on it as required by 48  the law of Moses the man of God. 3:3 They established the altar on its foundations, even though they were in terror of the local peoples, 49  and they offered burnt offerings on it to the Lord, both the morning and the evening offerings. 3:4 They observed the Festival of Temporary Shelters 50  as required 51  and offered the proper number of 52  daily burnt offerings according to the requirement for each day. 3:5 Afterward they offered the continual burnt offerings and those for the new moons and those for all the holy assemblies of the Lord and all those that were being voluntarily offered to the Lord. 3:6 From the first day of the seventh month they began to offer burnt offerings to the Lord. However, the Lord’s temple was not at that time established. 53 

Preparations for Rebuilding the Temple

3:7 So they provided money 54  for the masons and carpenters, and food, beverages, and olive oil for the people of Sidon 55  and Tyre, 56  so that they would bring cedar timber from Lebanon to the seaport 57  at Joppa, in accord with the edict of King Cyrus of Persia. 3:8 In the second year after they had come to the temple of God in Jerusalem, 58  in the second month, Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of Jozadak initiated the work, 59  along with the rest of their associates, 60  the priests and the Levites, and all those who were coming to Jerusalem from the exile. They appointed 61  the Levites who were at least twenty years old 62  to take charge of the work on the Lord’s temple. 3:9 So Jeshua appointed both his sons and his relatives, 63  Kadmiel and his sons (the sons of Yehudah 64 ), to take charge of the workers in the temple of God, along with the sons of Henadad, their sons, and their relatives 65  the Levites. 3:10 When the builders established the Lord’s temple, the priests, ceremonially attired and with their clarions, 66  and the Levites (the sons of Asaph) with their cymbals, stood to praise the Lord according to the instructions left by 67  King David of Israel. 68  3:11 With antiphonal response they sang, 69  praising and glorifying the Lord:

“For he is good;

his loyal love toward Israel is forever.”

All the people gave a loud 70  shout as they praised the Lord when the temple of the Lord was established. 3:12 Many of the priests, the Levites, and the leaders 71 older people who had seen with their own eyes the former temple while it was still established 72 were weeping loudly, 73  and many others raised their voice in a joyous shout. 3:13 People were unable to tell the difference between the sound of joyous shouting and the sound of the people’s weeping, for the people were shouting so loudly 74  that the sound was heard a long way off.

Opposition to the Building Efforts

4:1 When the enemies of Judah and Benjamin learned that the former exiles 75  were building a temple for the Lord God of Israel, 4:2 they came to Zerubbabel and the leaders 76  and said to them, “Let us help you build, 77  for like you we seek your God and we have been sacrificing to him 78  from the time 79  of King Esarhaddon 80  of Assyria, who brought us here.” 81  4:3 But Zerubbabel, Jeshua, and the rest of the leaders of Israel said to them, “You have no right 82  to help us build the temple of our God. We will build it by ourselves for the Lord God of Israel, just as King Cyrus, the king of Persia, has commanded us.” 4:4 Then the local people 83  began to discourage 84  the people of Judah and to dishearten them from building. 4:5 They were hiring advisers to oppose them, so as to frustrate their plans, throughout the time 85  of King Cyrus of Persia until the reign of King Darius 86  of Persia. 87 

4:6

Official Complaints Are Lodged Against the Jews

88 

At the beginning of the reign of Ahasuerus 89  they filed an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem. 90  4:7 And during the reign 91  of Artaxerxes, Bishlam, 92  Mithredath, Tabeel, and the rest of their colleagues 93  wrote to King Artaxerxes 94  of Persia. This letter 95  was first written in Aramaic but then translated.

[Aramaic:] 96 

4:8 Rehum the commander 97  and Shimshai the scribe 98  wrote a letter concerning 99  Jerusalem to King Artaxerxes as follows: 4:9 From 100  Rehum the commander, Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their colleagues – the judges, the rulers, the officials, the secretaries, the Erechites, the Babylonians, the people of Susa (that is, 101  the Elamites), 4:10 and the rest of nations whom the great and noble Ashurbanipal 102  deported and settled in the cities 103  of Samaria and other places in Trans-Euphrates. 104  4:11 (This is a copy of the letter they sent to him:)

“To King Artaxerxes, 105  from your servants in 106  Trans-Euphrates: 4:12 Now 107  let the king be aware that the Jews who came up to us from you have gone to Jerusalem. They are rebuilding that rebellious and odious city. 108  They are completing its walls and repairing its foundations. 4:13 Let the king also be aware that if this city is built and its walls are completed, no more tax, custom, or toll will be paid, and the royal treasury 109  will suffer loss. 4:14 In light of the fact that we are loyal to the king, 110  and since it does not seem appropriate to us that the king should sustain damage, 111  we are sending the king this information 112  4:15 so that he may initiate a search of the records 113  of his predecessors 114  and discover in those records 115  that this city is rebellious 116  and injurious to both kings and provinces, producing internal revolts 117  from long ago. 118  It is for this very reason that this city was destroyed. 4:16 We therefore are informing the king that if this city is rebuilt and its walls are completed, you will not retain control 119  of this portion of Trans-Euphrates.”

4:17 The king sent the following response:

“To Rehum the commander, Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their colleagues who live in Samaria and other parts of Trans-Euphrates: Greetings! 120  4:18 The letter you sent to us has been translated and read in my presence. 4:19 So I gave orders, 121  and it was determined 122  that this city from long ago has been engaging in insurrection against kings. It has continually engaged in 123  rebellion and revolt. 4:20 Powerful kings have been over Jerusalem who ruled throughout the entire Trans-Euphrates 124  and who were the beneficiaries of 125  tribute, custom, and toll. 4:21 Now give orders that these men cease their work and that this city not be rebuilt until such time as I so instruct. 126  4:22 Exercise appropriate caution so that there is no negligence in this matter. Why should danger increase to the point that kings sustain damage?

4:23 Then, as soon as the copy of the letter from King Artaxerxes was read in the presence of Rehum, Shimshai the scribe, and their colleagues, they proceeded promptly to the Jews in Jerusalem 127  and stopped them with threat of armed force. 128 

4:24 So the work on the temple of God in Jerusalem came to a halt. It remained halted until the second year of the reign of King Darius of Persia. 129 

Tattenai Appeals to Darius

5:1 Then the prophets Haggai and Zechariah son 130  of Iddo 131  prophesied concerning the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem 132  in the name of the God of Israel who was over them. 5:2 Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of Jozadak began 133  to rebuild the temple of God in Jerusalem. The prophets of God were with them, supporting them.

5:3 At that time Tattenai governor of Trans-Euphrates, Shethar-Bozenai, and their colleagues came to them and asked, “Who gave you authority 134  to rebuild this temple and to complete this structure? 135  5:4 They 136  also asked them, “What are the names of the men who are building this edifice? 5:5 But God was watching over 137  the elders of Judah, and they were not stopped 138  until a report could be dispatched 139  to Darius and a letter could be sent back concerning this.

5:6 This is a copy of the letter that Tattenai governor of Trans-Euphrates, Shethar-Bozenai, and his colleagues who were the officials of Trans-Euphrates sent to King Darius. 5:7 The report they sent to him was written as follows: 140 

“To King Darius: All greetings! 141  5:8 Let it be known to the king that we have gone to the province of Judah, to the temple of the great God. It is being built with large stones, 142  and timbers are being placed in the walls. This work is being done with all diligence and is prospering in their hands. 5:9 We inquired of those elders, asking them, ‘Who gave you the authority to rebuild this temple and to complete this structure?’ 5:10 We also inquired of their names in order to inform you, so that we might write the names of the men who were their leaders. 5:11 They responded to us in the following way: ‘We are servants of the God of heaven and earth. We are rebuilding the temple which was previously built many years ago. A great king 143  of Israel built it and completed it. 5:12 But after our ancestors 144  angered the God of heaven, he delivered them into the hands 145  of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, the Chaldean, who destroyed this temple and exiled the people to Babylon. 146  5:13 But in the first year of King Cyrus of Babylon, 147  King Cyrus enacted a decree to rebuild this temple of God. 5:14 Even the gold and silver vessels of the temple of God that Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple in Jerusalem and had brought to the palace 148  of Babylon – even those things King Cyrus brought from the palace of Babylon and presented 149  to a man by the name of Sheshbazzar whom he had appointed as governor. 5:15 He said to him, “Take these vessels and go deposit them in the temple in Jerusalem, and let the house of God be rebuilt in its proper location.” 150  5:16 Then this Sheshbazzar went and laid the foundations of the temple of God in Jerusalem. From that time to the present moment 151  it has been in the process of being rebuilt, although it is not yet finished.’

5:17Now if the king is so inclined, 152  let a search be conducted in the royal archives 153  there in Babylon in order to determine whether King Cyrus did in fact issue orders for this temple of God to be rebuilt in Jerusalem. Then let the king send us a decision concerning this matter.”

Darius Issues a Decree

6:1 So Darius the king issued orders, and they searched in the archives 154  of the treasury which were deposited there in Babylon. 6:2 A scroll was found in the citadel 155  of Ecbatana which is in the province of Media, and it was inscribed as follows:

“Memorandum: 6:3 In the first year of his reign, 156  King Cyrus gave orders concerning the temple of God in Jerusalem: 157  ‘Let the temple be rebuilt as a place where sacrifices are offered. Let its foundations be set in place. 158  Its height is to be ninety feet and its width ninety 159  feet, 160  6:4 with three layers of large stones 161  and one 162  layer of timber. The expense is to be subsidized 163  by the royal treasury. 164  6:5 Furthermore let the gold and silver vessels of the temple of God, which Nebuchadnezzar brought from the temple in Jerusalem and carried to Babylon, be returned and brought to their proper place in the temple in Jerusalem. Let them be deposited in the temple of God.’

6:6Now Tattenai governor of Trans-Euphrates, Shethar Bozenai, and their colleagues, the officials of Trans-Euphrates – all of you stay far away from there! 6:7 Leave the work on this temple of God alone. 165  Let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews rebuild this temple of God in its proper place.

6:8I also hereby issue orders as to what you are to do with those elders of the Jews in order to rebuild this temple of God. From the royal treasury, from the taxes of Trans-Euphrates the complete costs are to be given to these men, so that there may be no interruption of the work. 166  6:9 Whatever is needed – whether oxen or rams or lambs or burnt offerings for the God of heaven or wheat or salt or wine or oil, as required by 167  the priests who are in Jerusalem – must be given to them daily without any neglect, 6:10 so that they may be offering incense to the God of heaven and may be praying for the good fortune of the king and his family. 168 

6:11I hereby give orders that if anyone changes this directive a beam is to be pulled out from his house and he is to be raised up and impaled 169  on it, and his house is to be reduced 170  to a rubbish heap 171  for this indiscretion. 172  6:12 May God who makes his name to reside there overthrow any king or nation 173  who reaches out 174  to cause such change so as to destroy this temple of God in Jerusalem. I, Darius, have given orders. Let them be carried out with precision!

The Temple Is Finally Dedicated

6:13 Then Tattenai governor of Trans-Euphrates, Shethar-Bozenai, and their colleagues acted accordingly – with precision, just as Darius the king had given instructions. 175  6:14 The elders of the Jews continued building and prospering, while at the same time 176  Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo continued prophesying. They built and brought it to completion by the command of the God of Israel and by the command of Cyrus and Darius and Artaxerxes king of Persia. 6:15 They finished this temple on the third day of the month Adar, which is the sixth 177  year of the reign of King Darius.

6:16 The people 178  of Israel – the priests, the Levites, and the rest of the exiles 179 observed the dedication of this temple of God with joy. 6:17 For the dedication of this temple of God they offered one hundred bulls, two hundred rams, four hundred lambs, and twelve male goats for the sin of all Israel, according to the number of the tribes of Israel. 6:18 They appointed the priests by their divisions and the Levites by their divisions over the worship of God at Jerusalem, 180  in accord with 181  the book of Moses. 6:19 182  The exiles 183  observed the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month. 6:20 The priests and the Levites had purified themselves, every last one, 184  and they all were ceremonially pure. They sacrificed the Passover lamb for all the exiles, for their colleagues 185  the priests, and for themselves. 6:21 The Israelites who were returning from the exile ate it, along with all those who had joined them 186  in separating themselves from the uncleanness of the nations of the land to seek the Lord God of Israel. 6:22 They observed the Feast of Unleavened Bread for seven days with joy, for the Lord had given them joy and had changed the opinion 187  of the king of Assyria 188  toward them, so that he assisted 189  them in the work on the temple of God, the God of Israel.

The Arrival of Ezra

7:1 Now after these things had happened, during the reign of King Artaxerxes 190  of Persia, Ezra came up from Babylon. 191  Ezra was the son of Seraiah, who was the son of Azariah, who was the son of Hilkiah, 7:2 who was the son of Shallum, who was the son of Zadok, who was the son of Ahitub, 7:3 who was the son of Amariah, who was the son of Azariah, who was the son of Meraioth, 7:4 who was the son of Zerahiah, who was the son of Uzzi, who was the son of Bukki, 7:5 who was the son of Abishua, who was the son of Phinehas, who was the son of Eleazar, who was the son of Aaron the chief priest. 7:6 This Ezra is the one who came up from Babylon. He was a scribe who was skilled in the law of Moses which the Lord God of Israel had given. The king supplied him with everything he requested, for the hand of the Lord his God was on him. 7:7 In the seventh year of King Artaxerxes, Ezra brought 192  up to Jerusalem 193  some of the Israelites and some of the priests, the Levites, the attendants, the gatekeepers, and the temple servants. 7:8 He entered Jerusalem in the fifth month of the seventh year of the king. 7:9 On the first day of the first month he had determined to make 194  the ascent from Babylon, and on the first day of the fifth month he arrived at Jerusalem, 195  for the good hand of his God was on him. 7:10 Now Ezra had dedicated himself 196  to the study of the law of the Lord, to its observance, and to teaching 197  its statutes and judgments in Israel.

Artaxerxes Gives Official Endorsement to Ezra’s Mission

7:11 What follows 198  is a copy of the letter that King Artaxerxes gave to Ezra the priestly scribe. 199  Ezra was 200  a scribe in matters pertaining to the commandments of the Lord and his statutes over Israel:

7:12 201 

Artaxerxes, king of kings, to Ezra the priest, a scribe of the perfect law of the God of heaven: 7:13 I have now issued a decree 202  that anyone in my kingdom from the people of Israel – even the priests and Levites – who wishes to do so may go up with you to Jerusalem. 203  7:14 You are authorized 204  by the king and his seven advisers to inquire concerning Judah and Jerusalem, according to the law of your God which is in your possession, 205  7:15 and to bring silver and gold which the king and his advisers have freely contributed to the God of Israel, who resides in Jerusalem, 7:16 along with all the silver and gold that you may collect 206  throughout all the province of Babylon and the contributions of the people and the priests for the temple of their God which is in Jerusalem. 7:17 With this money you should be sure to purchase bulls, rams, and lambs, along with the appropriate 207  meal offerings and libations. You should bring them to the altar of the temple of your God which is in Jerusalem. 7:18 You may do whatever seems appropriate to you and your colleagues 208  with the rest of the silver and the gold, in keeping with the will of your God. 7:19 Deliver to 209  the God of Jerusalem the vessels that are given to you for the service of the temple of your God. 7:20 The rest of the needs for the temple of your God that you may have to supply, 210  you may do so from the royal treasury.

7:21I, King Artaxerxes, hereby issue orders to all the treasurers of 211  Trans-Euphrates, that you precisely execute all that Ezra the priestly scribe of the law of the God of heaven may request of you – 7:22 up to 100 talents of silver, 100 cors of wheat, 100 baths of wine, 100 baths of olive oil, 212  and unlimited 213  salt. 7:23 Everything that the God of heaven has required should be precisely done for the temple of the God of heaven. Why should there be wrath 214  against the empire of the king and his sons? 7:24 Furthermore, be aware of the fact 215  that you have no authority to impose tax, tribute, or toll on any of the priests, the Levites, the musicians, the doorkeepers, the temple servants, or the attendants at the temple of this God.

7:25Now you, Ezra, in keeping with the wisdom of your God which you possess, 216  appoint judges 217  and court officials who can arbitrate cases on behalf of all the people who are in Trans-Euphrates who know the laws of your God. Those who do not know this law should be taught. 7:26 Everyone who does not observe both the law of your God and the law of the king will be completely 218  liable to the appropriate penalty, whether it is death or banishment or confiscation of property or detainment in prison.”

7:27 219 

Blessed be the Lord God of our fathers, who so moved in the heart of the king to so honor the temple of the Lord which is in Jerusalem! 7:28 He has also conferred his favor on me before the king, his advisers, and all the influential leaders of the king. I gained strength as the hand of the Lord my God was on me, and I gathered leaders from Israel to go up with me.

The Leaders Who Returned with Ezra

8:1 These are the leaders 220  and those enrolled with them by genealogy who were coming up with me from Babylon during the reign of King Artaxerxes:

8:2 from the descendants of Phinehas, Gershom;

from the descendants of Ithamar, Daniel;

from the descendants of David, Hattush 8:3 the son of Shecaniah; 221 

from the descendants of Parosh, Zechariah, and with him were enrolled by genealogy 150 men;

8:4 from the descendants of Pahath-Moab, Eliehoenai son of Zerahiah, and with him 200 men;

8:5 from the descendants of Zattu, 222  Shecaniah son of Jahaziel, and with him 300 men;

8:6 from the descendants of Adin, Ebed son of Jonathan, and with him 50 men;

8:7 from the descendants of Elam, Jeshaiah son of Athaliah, and with him 70 men;

8:8 from the descendants of Shephatiah, Zebadiah son of Michael, and with him 80 men;

8:9 from the descendants of Joab, Obadiah son of Jehiel, and with him 218 men;

8:10 from the descendants of Bani, 223  Shelomith son of Josiphiah, and with him 160 men;

8:11 from the descendants of Bebai, Zechariah son of Bebai, and with him 28 men;

8:12 from the descendants of Azgad, Johanan son of Hakkatan, and with him 110 men;

8:13 from the descendants of Adonikam there were the latter ones. 224  Their names were Eliphelet, Jeuel, and Shemaiah, and with them 60 men;

8:14 from the descendants of Bigvai, Uthai, and Zaccur, 225  and with them 226  70 men.

The Exiles Travel to Jerusalem

8:15 I had them assemble 227  at the canal 228  that flows toward Ahava, and we camped there for three days. I observed that the people and the priests were present, but I found no Levites there. 8:16 So I sent for Eliezer, Ariel, Shemaiah, Elnathan, Jarib, Elnathan, 229  Nathan, Zechariah, and Meshullam, who were leaders, and Joiarib and Elnathan, who were teachers. 8:17 I sent them to Iddo, who was the leader in the place called Casiphia. I told them 230  what to say to Iddo and his relatives, 231  who were the temple servants in 232  Casiphia, so they would bring us attendants for the temple of our God.

8:18 Due to the fact that the good hand of our God was on us, they brought us a skilled man, from the descendants of Mahli the son of Levi son of Israel. This man was Sherebiah, 233  who was accompanied by his sons and brothers, 234  18 men, 8:19 and Hashabiah, along with Jeshaiah from the descendants of Merari, with his brothers and their sons, 20 men, 8:20 and some of the temple servants that David and his officials had established for the work of the Levites – 220 of them. They were all designated by name.

8:21 I called for a fast there by the Ahava Canal, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and seek from him a safe journey 235  for us, our children, and all our property. 8:22 I was embarrassed to request soldiers and horsemen from the king to protect us from the enemy 236  along the way, because we had said to the king, “The good hand of our God is on everyone who is seeking him, but his great anger 237  is against everyone who forsakes him.” 8:23 So we fasted and prayed to our God about this, and he answered us.

8:24 Then I set apart twelve of the leading priests, together with 238  Sherebiah, Hashabiah, and ten of their brothers, 239  8:25 and I weighed out to them the silver, the gold, and the vessels intended for the temple of our God – items that the king, his advisers, his officials, and all Israel who were present had contributed. 8:26 I weighed out to them 240  650 talents of silver, silver vessels worth 100 talents, 241  100 talents of gold, 8:27 20 gold bowls worth 1,000 darics, and two exquisite vessels of gleaming bronze, as valuable as gold. 8:28 Then I said to them, “You are holy to the Lord, just as these vessels are holy. The silver and the gold are a voluntary offering to the Lord, the God of your fathers. 8:29 Be careful with them and protect them, until you weigh them out before the leading priests and the Levites and the family leaders of Israel in Jerusalem, 242  in the storerooms of the temple of the Lord.”

8:30 Then the priests and the Levites took charge of 243  the silver, the gold, and the vessels that had been weighed out, to transport them to Jerusalem to the temple of our God.

8:31 On the twelfth day of the first month we began traveling from the Ahava Canal to go to Jerusalem. The hand of our God was on us, and he delivered us from our enemy and from bandits 244  along the way. 8:32 So we came to Jerusalem, and we stayed there for three days. 8:33 On the fourth day we weighed out the silver, the gold, and the vessels in the house of our God into the care 245  of Meremoth son of Uriah, the priest, and Eleazar son of Phinehas, who were accompanied by Jozabad son of Jeshua and Noadiah son of Binnui, who were Levites. 8:34 Everything was verified 246  by number and by weight, and the total weight was written down at that time.

8:35 The exiles who were returning from the captivity offered burnt offerings to the God of Israel – twelve bulls for all Israel, ninety-six rams, seventy-seven male lambs, along with twelve male goats as a sin offering. All this was a burnt offering to the Lord. 8:36 Then they presented the decrees of the king to the king’s satraps and to the governors of Trans-Euphrates, who gave help to the people and to the temple of God.

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